Not the first time I've said this, and it's very unlikely it'll be the last, but Korea is the land 1001 revenge thrillers. Thematically, while many of these films may be incredible, they're all pretty similar. They all follow the same plot points almost to a T. I don't mean that as a negative, it's just how the game is. But this film, takes that concept of revenge and absolutely flips it on its head. Not that I think this will revolutionize the genre, but it offered a very unique twist on a very crowded genre. And it tells a compelling, and incredibly dark, story in about as effective a manner as is humanly possible. Which is strange coming from Kim ki Duk. Not that his films are pretentious or anything, though some would argue, but I think he's the type of filmmaker that works best on an open-ended story. Where you can make your own conclusion as to what's happened, or there's a debate about the film's events and their veracity. This is very cut and dried film, it lays all its cards on the table, as it relates to the narrative. That's not a negative at all, it's the opposite, but it is strange coming from Kim Ki Duk. The film is quite dark, and ultimately, very tragic, so if you're easily depressed then this is certainly not the film for you. Its darkness is another positive, it's certainly very unflinching when it comes to telling its story. This may have SOME spoilers, so skip ahead. It's a mother's elaborate vengeance to teach the incredibly cruel loan shark, who drove her handicapped, at the loan shark's hands, son to suicide, the consequences of his actions as a loan shark while also giving him the mother he never had. Lee, the loan shark, believing that this woman is his real mother chooses to turn over a new leaf and to quit his job. It's simple to see that this is suggesting that if Lee's real mother had never abandoned him, he never would've gone down the path he did. It's also clear he has intimacy issues with women because of this abandonment. Basically Jang Mi-sun, the mother, is going to give Lee the mother he always wanted before taking her away from him, again, and crushing him emotionally, by committing suicide in front of him and making it look like a homicide. That's pretty heavy stuff right there and Lee's reaction to this is equally as heavy. This is one of those great films that you never care to watch again because it's a movie that completely takes it out of you. It's not Amour, or even Requiem for a Dream, but it's not a film I plan on watching again. I still think it's an excellent film though, great performances and a great story make this a must-see. It's not exactly the most subtle of films, but that doesn't lessen its impact at all.